The Origins of American Concours d'Elegance and Their Love of Brass Era Cars by Mike Thies
Concours d'Elegance is a French term meaning "competition of elegance" and refers to a showcase of historic and/or classic automobiles. They have a long and rich history, with roots that can be traced back to France in the early 1700s. The first Concours d'Elegance was held in the gardens of Versailles, and it was a competition to determine which horse-drawn carriages were the most stylish and elegant. Over time, the Concours d'Elegance evolved to include automobiles, and today, these events are a showcase of some of the finest and most historic automobiles in the world.
In the United States, Concours d'Elegance events began to gain popularity in the mid 20th century, as automobiles became more widely available and collecting and restoring them became a popular hobby. The first American Concours d'Elegance was held at Pebble Beach, California 1950, and since then, these events have grown in popularity and prestige.
One of the defining characteristics of Concours d'Elegance events is their love of Brass Era cars. Brass Era cars are vehicles that were manufactured between 1895 and 1917, and they are considered to be some of the earliest and most historic automobiles in the world. Brass Era cars are characterized by their distinctive brass fittings and trim, and they were a symbol of luxury and sophistication during a time when the automobile was still a relatively new invention.
The love of Brass Era cars at American Concours d'Elegance events is driven by a number of factors. Firstly, these cars represent a turning point in the history of the automobile, and they are a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of early automobile manufacturers. Secondly, Brass Era cars are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts, who appreciate their historical significance and their beautiful design and engineering.
it is estimated that there are over 250 car manufacturers in the middle of the era. Many were poised as vehicles for the wealthier and most were built one at a time. They are prized by collectors but are expensive to restore and maintain, and most are not easily driven on modern roads. A large number have been left unseen in private collections and many are sitting in museums around the world.
The growth of Concours d’Elegance events provides an opportunity for the collectors to bring out their prized high quality brass era cars into a competition, where they can be appreciated by a viewing public.
. When it comes to judging Brass Era cars, there are several key factors to consider:
When evaluating a Brass Era car, it is important to consider all of these factors and to have a deep understanding of the historical context and significance of the car. This can help to ensure that the car is properly valued and that it is appreciated for its unique qualities and contributions to automotive history.